Career Lessons Learned from Crazy Rich Asians

by Oct 15, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians has become a cultural phenomenon and I for one am jumping aboard this Crazy Rich Asian hype train. For a rom-com, this movie had a surprising amount of takeaway messages.

As a ’Crazy non-rich Asian’ myself, I feel like I am 66.6% qualified to interpret some of the lessons from the film into a careers perspective.

Don’t just say you respect someone – show it!

baby respect hat

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At the beginning of the film, Eleanor and her family are turned away from a fancy hotel as they did not appear to meet the typical standard of customer that the staff was used to. This turns out to be a huge mistake as Eleanor is hectic-rich and is revealed to be buying the hotel from its owner. I was once turned away from getting my milk tea because my card was declined. Maybe not the same thing but similar.

Although this is a scripted, romanticised and very enjoyable scene of poetic justice, there is something to treating all people with a general level of respect.  Rather than basing respect on a situational basis, respect should treated as a value and demonstrated through actions and interactions with others. If you treat people with kindness and genuinely listen to their thoughts, you’ll find that they and others will be drawn towards you as there is a sense of trust and mutual respect.

Do I belong?

woman stating she doesn't belong

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After experiencing attacks from which includes verbal bullying, manipulation and a classic dead-fish-left-on-her-bed prank (yep, this happens), protagonist Rachel is left with a choice. Does she leave or stay and tough it out?

It’s clear that Rachel doesn’t feel like she belongs in the ‘Crazy Rich Asian’ world. This feeling of being a ‘fraud’ can be can commonly be found in the workplace. It even has a name: Imposter Syndrome.

This state of self-doubt is an unhealthy way to approach professional life and will ultimately lead to isolation, both self-induced and from workmates. Overcoming this mindset is possible and more detailed advice can be found here.

It will ultimately be up to you to decide whether you are on the right career path, but know that you were hired because you earned your place. Sometimes the right choice is to head in a different direction, but don’t go down without trying and exploring your options.

Asking for help can be key to realising your sense of self-worth, which leads onto the final takeaway message.

Build and trust in your support network

Superman patting Batman on the head

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At times, even when you try your best, plans don’t work how you imagined. During these tough periods, it’s important to have people you can trust to listen and provide their honest opinions. It can often take an external mind to point out issues you might not realise were there. When Rachel was at her most low, it was her relationship with her mum and best friend that brought her clarity over the situation.

Knowing that there are people that have your back is comforting, but having a support network doesn’t happen on its own. It takes effort to build and maintain strong relationships. Reconnect old friend for a coffee, have dinner with your parents, go out for drinks with workmates. It doesn’t happen overnight, but taking the effort to reach out will show that you genuinely care and over time, you’ll hopefully find an ally to help you through those rough times.


Cheers to romcoms, killer fashion and Hollywood diversity. I’m gonna go get a milk tea to celebrate. I’ve checked and there’s definitely enough money on my card this time.

Until the sequel!

Featured image courtesy of  Medium


By Ryan Abednego

By Ryan Abednego

Employability Officer

Ryan Abednego works for UTS Careers as an Employability Officer, coordinating the extracurricular programs run throughout the year. He is particularly passionate about assisting students during their time at university, as they work towards their future ambitions.